With the summer season well underway, many of us will be packing our bags and making our way to our holiday destinations. It might be a tropical paradise just a plane journey away, or it could be across Australia to spend time with family and friends. Wherever your travels may take you, you’re sure to be looking forward to the long, relaxing break over January.

However, long periods of sitting whilst travelling, the unfamiliar pillows and the uncomfortable mattress may create just enough discomfort for those little niggles to start up in your back and/or neck. Trying to relax is near impossible when you’re having to deal with aches and pain. As your chiropractor may also be taking advantage of the summer season for a well-deserved break, it’s worth noting what you can do to try and prevent or alleviate the pain that could put a dampener on your holiday experience.

If you’re travelling long distances by car, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the journey. As well as packing plenty of food and water, make sure your seat is in the upright position, and be sure your tailbone is positioned as far back on the seat as possible. By doing so, you’re going to get the best support from the seat for your shoulders and head.

Once on the road, pull over and take a break every 1-2 hours. Use this time to stretch and roll your shoulders back in a circular motion to loosen tight muscles and remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water as well.

If you’ve decided to head overseas for a well- deserved getaway, you will most probably be travelling by air. Plane journeys can often be uncomfortable, but there are a few things you can do that might help relieve back pain, should it arise. If possible, choose or request an aisle seat. Doing so can enable you to take regular walks up and down the aisle to stretch your legs without inconveniencing those seated beside you. You may also find that using a cushion for spinal support will help to maintain the natural shape of your spine against an often-uncomfortable plane seat.

Heavy carry-ons and over-stuffed shoulder bags cause your body to become unbalanced, so try to pack as light as possible. If you must take everything, rather than one large suitcase, using two smaller cases will distribute the weight more evenly when carrying them. Take extra precaution when lifting. Always lift with your legs and use your feet to pivot instead of twisting at the spine.

While you’re away from home, sleeping in an uncomfortable bed may trigger additional levels of discomfort, aches, and pains. You may benefit from sleeping on your back or side and not your stomach, placing small towels under your side where the mattress may dip, and stretching after sleeping.

Don’t let back and neck pain distract you from enjoying your holiday. Consult your chiropractor for further advice on how you might relieve/avoid pain and discomfort while travelling.